Kids Book Corner

  • Goose Girl
  • Mrs. Frisby and The Rats of NIMH
  • Peter and The Shadow Thieves
  • Peter and The Star Catchers
  • Simon Bloom, The Gravity Keeper
  • Stella Brite and The Dark Matter Myster
  • The Island of The Blue Dolphins
  • The Phantom Toll Booth
  • The School Library Journal
  • The Sisters Grimm
  • Tuck Everlasting


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Book reviews for February 28th

Sarah Vowell loves history and giving her opinion. She inserts her witty comments through out this book about the Puritans coming to America and our vanilla, or white washed version of history. Her comment on page 21, "...Americans have learned history from exaggerated popular art for as long as anyone can remember." Vowell and I are about the same age, so her pop culture references make a lot of sense to me. Her very first paragraph sucked me in to the book, "The only thing more dangerous than an idea is a belief. And by dangerous I don't mean thought-provoking. I mean: might get people killed." The conflict among the Puritans was really fascinating. The trials that removed Roger Williams from the flock to start over in Rhode Island was really fascinating, especially his continued correspondence with John Winthrop.
The story of Anne Hutchinson and the Native American population is fascinating, too. Many eloquent and inspiring writings came from flawed individual, which we all happen to be. By trying to gloss over the dilemmas and trials these people went through it keeps those willing to learn from history intellectually hog-tied. I expect people to have flaws and to live in that shade of grey. I also expect them to try their best to overcome those flaws and to treat others as they wish to be treated themselves.
I, thoroughly, enjoyed reading this book and I need to grab a copy for my shelf soon. If you like history infused with some frequent barbs and jabs of sarcastic wit, you might like this book, too.

The story of Molly a descendant of the Mohawk tribe who has been told the folktales of her tribe. One of these tales is about the Skeleton Man who eats an entire family save one girl. Molly becomes entangled in a modern version of this tale when her parents mysteriously disappear and a man who claims to be her uncle comes to take her in. Molly is a dreamer who has a spirit guide in the form of a rabbit that helps her. This story maintains a sinister and creepy tone throughout, so don't expect anything lighthearted. The author has a moment when Molly goes to see the school counselor to make a somewhat subtle statement against the use of drugs like Ritalin.

Overall, the book is an interesting creepy tale of Mohawk folk legends mixed with the modern day.

This book is a series of essays about ideas and places that interest Sarah Vowell. She infuses her stories with comparisons between her staunch Democratic beliefs and her parents' staunch Republican beliefs, while remember through the bickering that they have shared memories and love one another. She also speaks of her relationship with her fraternal twin sister, Amy, and some of its dichotomies. In the essay titled "Wonder Twins" she brings up the cartoon characters that always drove me nuts as a kid...well, they still do. "Form of a gorilla"..."Form of a ice"...there powers just plain stunk. ARGH!
She also has a reverence for the National Parks (I say that realizing she is an atheist and the definition has more than a religious meaning). Her angst over politics is presented very strongly throughout. Her essay Cowboys vs. Mounties that talks about the polite Canadians is a truly amusing insight. In her explaining why she loves to visit National Parks and historical sites of some of the most heinous parts of our American history she explains some of why I love to do history vacations, "So if I have gleaned anything useful from reading and daytripping through the tribulations of the long dead, it's to count my blessings, to try and quit bellyaching, buck up."
I thought this book was a good read from someone who loves history, as do I, and she knows a ton more than I do about it. She has come to some different conclusions on some things, or similar conclusions that she expresses more harshly than I would state them, but she has done the research to back most of them.

The book was a sad glimpse into the world of Fundamental Mormons. Brent Jeffs gives his account of how life with 3 moms and several siblings was mostly chaos. His father, a Vietnam vet, suffered from PTSD, which was exacerbated by feuding sister wives and the sheer quantity of people who clambored for his attention. Brent speaks of his memories of abuse by Warren Jeffs, who assisted by his brothers, raped Brent. Brent's family is forced out of the community due to harboring gentiles, which happen to be Brent's older brothers who had left the church. The view of how families were created and torn apart was disheartining. The machinations of the church hiearchy for control and their thumping the word "Obedience" into everything gave them a malleable and frightened group that was ineffectual at protecting themselves, or their children from abuse. Brent later is part of a lawsuit against Warren Jeffs and as other "Lost Boys" are interviewed the extent to which Warren Jeffs violated the community begins to paint an ominous picture of life among the FLDS.
The odd thing to me on the literary aspect of the book was the word usage. The book was surprisingly sophisticated except for the expletives sprinkled throughout. The expletives made a sort of since coming from a young man with little education and having done an enormous amount of drugs in his life. It wasn't until the end that I saw that he thanked the female writer that assisted him. Then the mix of grammar styles made since. The more feminine-sophisticated word choices made sense.
The book is worth reading to explain to people that blind obedience is a recipe for disaster and that the math does not work for polgamy to be successful.

More to read and review soon! Later, gators!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Some Snow Fun

Just a few pages of things the family has been doing lately:

Book reviews later. Smiles!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, Michael!

These new Pearl Jam songs make me think of Michael:



Friday, February 19, 2010

Cub Scouts Vs. Aliens

I baked cupcakes for the space themed Blue and Gold Banquet tonight at church. I got the idea from a cool cupcake book my mom gave me. I used a half of a marshmallow and a donut hole to give the height for the head. Then the other half of the marshmallow for the eye. I have an edible ink marker. Michael finished the eyeball coloring for me. The pullapart Twizzlers are rather unruly, in case you wondered.

Take us to your Pack Leader:

Peace out!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Just Call Me...

Eve, Noah and I were discussing nicknames. I call Eve, Eveybug and I call Noah, No E Monster. They have a boy that they know at school named Robert and they were asking what are nicknames for his name. I threw out Bob, Bobby, and Rob. Noah suggested "Bobert". I told him I had never heard of anyone going by that, but you never know. Then Noah said, "You can love me. You can even worship me, just don't call me No E Monster. If you are going to worship me you can call me Noah the Great.

I think we all can safely say that I will be continuing with the No E Monster...thanks for the suggestion though.

Here are some new digital pages of the kiddos:

::::::Some of My Favorite Layouts and Why::::::::

This layout was a fun science experiment we did with the kids to answer a question they had:

It was fun to show this photo to Eve since she is in 1st grade now:

I love some of the stuff Noah thinks deeply about:

I was amazed at the artwork that captivated Noah the longest:

I have never seen an episode of Survivor, but from what people talk about I think this captures the essence of a show in a twisted and fun way:

We really enjoyed visiting New York City and I love this layout because the artwork is a sketch Michael did that I extracted and made the lines white instead of black:

:::::::::::::::::Birthday Dinner::::::

We just got back from Granny Sydney's house. She made Michael a yummy birthday dinner. We had rolls, barbequed spareribs, corn, green beans, and rice. She made brownies for dessert. The kids had fun playing with the snow on the back deck and with some of the toys. Michael and I had fun just getting to talk with his mom. Thanks, Sydney!

Time to read...The Wordy Shipmates


Sunday, February 07, 2010

Noah's question for today: "What is the point of using Jedi mind tricks on stupid people?"


Thank you, Teacherninja, for the nomination.
• Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
• Link the person who nominated you.
• Name seven things about yourself that no one would really know.
• Nominate ten “Sugar Dolls.”
• Post links to the ten blogs you nominate.
• Leave a comment on each letting them know you nominated them.

Finding seven things that people wouldn't really know is rather difficult. I thought that listing that I was a control freak would be considered universal knowledge, so I had to move unto something else.

1. I believe dogs and cats should be spayed, or neutered to help decrease the sad circumstances that are produced by unwanted and uncared for animals.
2. I have fond memories of square hamburgers because my maternal grandmother would drive in to Columbus near the "Bypass" to go to Krystals. She would always put napkins around the salt and pepper shakers because, "You never know who touched them before you got there." I love mustard, dill pickles, and bread. I don't deviate from what I order there, or Subway for that matter. My brother is autistic, but he hasn't cornered the market on repetitive behavior. For example, Subway has a menu that offers so many choices, but I always order: a 6inch Subway Club with pepper jack cheese, toasted with lettuce, sliced dill pickles, tomatoes, heavy on the spinach, and plain yellow mustard (I can't stand the other stuff, which surprises me, yet is absolutely true).

3. I like so many different things and enjoy talking about them without ever having mastered any of the subjects that I come off as a repository for useless and inane facts, but Hey I like it that way. My guess is this tendency has led me to spend an inordinate amount of time watching the series QI on

4. I consistently lose Scrabble games against my husband. He is a master of getting words that count in two directions, while I am looking to make the coolest word. This really is my only strategy because I don't think well on multiple planes. I'm like the triangles in dimensional and dangerous if you bump into me (that is why we stopped playing Monopoly too).

5. My daughter says I'm not funny...maybe I was her opinion. I sometimes get laughing so hard at something I, alone, find witty that my sides ache. That is a good time, my friends.

6. I will go to the store to buy something and find something incidental on the way. If I continue shopping I will make the case for and against buying the incidental object. Usually not buying wins out (even in the case of chocolate...tell no one).

7. I think the spork is one of the handy dandiest of cool inventions.

:::::::::::Book Review::::::::

Amelia Peabody is tired of the Victorian trappings both ideologically and physically. I think she would burn her bra, as well, but by the author's description of Amelia that wouldn't be a great idea. Amelia is someone who speaks her mind and due to an inheritance can do so without worrying to much about the consequences. The information on Egypt was interesting along with some of the preservation techniques. There were a few times where I would think to myself, "get on with it already" because the author rehashed things a bit too much, but the characters have a lot of potential. There were several pithy lines between the sparring couple Amelia and Radcliffe Emerson. I enjoyed their interacctions. Not an outstanding beginning to a series, but still worth checking out book 2.

:::::::::::::Yearbook Music:::::::
I have been working on the kids yearbook again this year and I'm becoming "snowblind" looking and relooking at photos, but I thought of this song and it made me nostaligic and I just think it's cool:

:::::::::::::Who Lives in a Pineapple Under the Sea?

Spongebob Squarepants, as many people know. We had a request from a friend and her daughter to help make a 1 year-old's party a bit more fun in the cake department. I enlisted the help of my favorite creative genius and we used date night to help decorate this birthday cake:

Everyone pitched in. Favihola (grandmother to our birthday girl) baked the cakes, made the tube worm and some sea grass. Michael trimmed the cakes. I frosted and covered them with fondant. Michael made the pineapple the red & orange coral, and the cute pink octopus. Alex (uncle) made Gary the Snail and cut out the flowers, Christina (mom) made Nemo, the jellyfish, sea stars, bubbles and some seagrass. Favihola made Planktons body and ears and I stuck on his eye bits. Richard (dad) made a giant clam with a pearl.

The toothpicks will get pulled out today for the party. Happy 1st Birthday, Eliana!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Rachel's Vocabulary Quiz Show brought to you today by the letter S.

So Rachel quizzed Noah the other day, "Noah do you know what scrupulous means?"
Noah replied, "Isn't that a part of the body?"

Noah's response brought upon him hails of derisive laughter. I think we will keep him for the comic relief alone. We did eventually tell him what scrupulous meant after several attempts at coming up with some new anatomical definitions in the form of a sentence.

:::::::::::::Copious Book Reviews::::::::

This book was recommended to me by a very well read member of our book group. She knows what types of books I like and this does fit the general bill for me. Elna Baker writes about her experiences, hopes, and dreams. It is book worthy because of the juxtaposition she finds herself in being a single Mormon in a community largely made up of non Mormons in New York City. Her insights, especially, in the beginning chapters is spot on about Singles dances and attitudes in the church. She comes off as rather neurotic, but understandable in the context of being someone who by nature questions everything, but is in a religion that requires faith. She reminds me of an adrenaline junky that wants a constant thrill, but needs to run back to the comfort of familiar beliefs. She is an actress, so the personality is not surprising. Faith is an intregal part of her life and I had the feeling it was like an imbilical cord that was both a life line and something she felt like she was growing out of and was trying to cut the cord. She is an amazingly sharp witted person, but her inability to make a decision left me feeling somewhat the way I imagined her ex-boyfriend Matt felt, rather frustrated.

Dr. Carson was brought up in poverty by a mother who had episodes of depression that had her checking herself into the hospital. He had a brother who was a good example and got him involved with ROTC. Dr. Carson's ability to analyze his life and work past his intense anger issues and early poor study skills to become the skilled pediatric neurosurgeon he is today he attributes to his faith in God who gave him the talents to begin with. He tells off the long hours of studying and internships, which tired me out just thinking about all of the hard work. His ability to think spatially has helped him see how the parts of the body, specifically, the brain works in all its varied parts. I enjoyed the stories of some of the specific cases he has encountered and how they have effected him, as well as, the patient. I appreciated his emphasis on procedures as being a team effort realizing that one person can't get it done. He has kept his humanity in the face of the opportunity to be a celebrity. He acknowledges his talents and achievements, while remaining humble. I was impressed by his wife, who is an accomplished woman in her own right and maintains their family amidst her husband's long hours.

This is not just a book of eye candy. You might think bugs aren't eye candy, but the photographs in this book are outstanding. I might not want to meet these bugs in person, but I loved going over and over this book and looking at the variously hued insects and their funky appendages. The introduction is very well written and a definite solid beginning to a fabulous book.

If looking at freaky cool bugs isn't your thing, then maybe photographs of freaky cool plants and their bits might just be. Pretty colors that are worthy of any lsd trippin' Timothy Leary types (that is purely a guess on my part...about the lsd...I mean...I think the hardest thing I've done is Nyquil for a cold back in 1990...but I digress). This book is so cool. It even has words, which explain the photographs...BONUS I highly recommend this one.

This was a solid sequel to Simon Bloom, The Gravity Keeper. The effects of the octopus dna in the kids was really fun. I love the characters of the narrator, and Ms. Fanstrom from the Historical Society. I even think the Books from the different orders are very intriguing. I could have used less running about finding and fighting folks and had more of the cerebral stuff regarding the Books and how they interact. I'm hoping for a sequel that gets more into the scientific and less about the physical Fight Club aspects of finding out the mysteries of the Board of Administration.

Peace out my Peeps!